After the mad rush of the holidays, with their fun but frenetic flurry of over-activity, I am always in need of stillness. This is particularly true for me this year, so I pull on my boots, bundle up, and slip away for a while, far from the sounds of civilization.
I go to the woods and wander in among the trees until I am enveloped in a cocoon of healing silence. With grateful breaths, I pause to inhale the familiar scent of fallen leaves. I lean close to the protective arms of a massive oak that holds its leaves all winter; like a child, I rest my head for long minutes against the quiet shelter of its heart.
I can feel peace and equilibrium returning; already I’m feeling more centered and whole. I pick my way down a steep bluff, aided by stair-step roots. Above me, jays and chickadees flit through the bare-branched canopy.
When I finally clamber down to the river trail, I smile when I notice my path is bestrewn with stars – the delicate seed-heads of woodland asters.
Although last autumn’s bright palette has faded into wintry, sepia-toned memories, here and there I spy bits of still-red leaves and thin green asterisks of grass.
I attune my ears to the almost inaudible murmur of flowing water, exhaling thin plumes of steam as I ramble along. In the distance, the wild song of Canada geese echoes back to me; I turn to scan the skies and, finding them, watch their majestic, upriver flight.
Winter days are brief – it’s nearly sunset already, and the mercury is plummeting. I know I should be heading back now, but my heart yearns for just a few more minutes alone in nature. So I wander farther along the river to explore an area I’ve never visited before.
Suddenly, I stop and stare, having come upon a special gift that seems to be just for me. There in the water is a perfect, heart-shaped river stone. I stand and marvel at its simple, timeless message, and these lovely words spring to mind:
Become silent, and wait
within your heart to feel
the next step
choreographed by Love,
then close your eyes and
surrender to the hold of
grace. Let yourself lean
into the music of stillness
dancing. . .
~Kate Mullane Robertson
As I move into the days and months of 2015, I intend to keep these words pinned to my inspiration board. I want to create more space in my life for moments of healing silence, to dial down the noise – both exterior and interior – until I can hear stillness dancing. I want to close my eyes and rest in the sure knowledge that grace is limitless and everywhere. More than anything, I want to be poised and ready to respond to Love’s next cue.
I hope that your new year, also, will be filled with your heart’s dearest wishes. May health and peace be yours, and may love’s many blessings enfold you.
Oh, Amy, after all the hustle-bustle, I can feel my soul taking a breath. Thank you. Bless you.
I hope your new year is off to a good and peaceful start, Nancy. Blessings~ xo
Dearest Amy, I love each and every one of your posts — the photos, the quotes, the poems, your exquisite essays. But this one takes my breath away. I felt as if I were at your side on this quiet, much-needed walk. And I, too, stand and marvel: at your artistry, your eye, your grace, and, of course, at the heart in the river and the words it brought to mind. Blessings to you in this new year. (How did your name come to float above that stone???)
oh, gosh, i just saw this, and now i know i’m not the only one who is seeing things…….i am giggling at this magic note. you always remind us that we need to look so closely to what you post. there is magic tucked here and there and everywhere…..
You might not realize it, but you are always here with me in my heart, dear Katrina. I’m so glad you loved coming along on my quiet walk through the woods and along the river.
I watermark my photos in this way: ~Amy ❤ And you've just now noticed I do. If you go back and look, you will find my watermark tucked in somewhere on all the photos I post here. Blessings and love to you, always~ xox
Wonderful colour and perspective on the first shot.
Thank you so much, and thank you for stopping by to visit! I felt safe and secure under those beautiful, outstretched boughs.
I agree with what Katrina Kenison said about your post. I follow both of your blogs and to me you are are both one; you share a gift of being able to write words that make me pause and center myself and take joy in life. I love the poem and if you don’t mind, I will put it on my writing board.
Thank-you for sharing; reading your post today was a gift for the new year.
Ellen, I am honored to know the words I offer here help you feel more centered and joyful. I love your blog and look forward to spending more time reading your lovely posts in the coming year. And yes, absolutely – feel free to use that lovely poem on your writing board! Beauty and wisdom are to be shared.
All best wishes to you in the new year. Happy gardening! xox
I understand with all my being, this deep-seated craving for nature’s tranquil spaces.
And too, I understand the very human need for companionship. I will gladly walk with you in silence, will dance with you in the stillness. And when you’re in the mood for a chatter-y morning lark, I’ll be there, right beside you.
Little morning lark, I love your companionship – whether we’re walking in silence, dancing in stillness, or chattering happily about the day’s events. Love and blessings to you, always~
Amy…..Your words and pictures are always beautiful and inspirational. I have never commented, however. I am always happy to see “My Path with Stars Bestrewn” on my email messages. I am Ann Dailing Bailey’s mother and 83 years of age now and am still looking forward to every day. “The Music of Stillness Dancing” brought to mind the words “Be Still and Know That I Am God.” Happy New Year and thank you….. Martha Dailing
Thank you for taking the time to post a comment here. Stillness is the universal language of all things divine, don’t you agree?
All my best wishes to you and your beautiful family in 2015. (And thank you for my beloved Ann. She’s a bright and faithful star here along my path.) xox
sister stillness, once again i find myself shaking at the discovery over and over of how our hearts beat the same rhythm.
this line: “thin green asterisks of grass.”
and, then, i was all quieted but i spied a flash of magic in the photo of the heart river rock and i am wondering if i am seeing things, or if there’s magic or if perhaps you penned it in, but i see the words “amy’s” or “amy S” just to the northeast of the river rock. do you see it in the water? did you put that there, or is the word “amy” spelled out just above the rock, as if pointing to its heart???????? forgive my excitedness. it’s au contraire to the spirit of quiet that lulled me most of the way through this exquisite walk in the woods, but once i got to the magic spotting, i just leapt out of my quiet skin…..
Sisters in stillness: yes, we are! And in joy, and love, and all things bright and beautiful. Per our recent conversation, you already know my name in the water is merely my humble watermark.
I love walking with you here, in your beautiful words, “under the star-stitched sky.” Blessings and love to you and yours, dear Barbara~ xoxo
This is so, so beautiful. I re-read Four Quartets right before Christmas, which of course contains references to the dancing being in the stillness. I love that image, and the ones you share here. Thank you. xox
Thank you, Lindsey. I love Kate Mullane Robertson’s interpretation of stillness dancing, as referenced in Four Quartets. It’s a lovely turn of phrase, dreamlike and ethereal. Much love to you and your darlings, and many blessings in 2015~ xoxo
I love those asters! Good luck with your goal. Such silence is hard. And thank you for keeping us in your challenging quests.
Oh, Jeannine, I loved discovering those woodland asters – so delicate and unobtrusive, gleaming there in the quiet winter light.
I find silence necessary, so I try to commune with nature as often as possible. The hard part of entering a healing silence is learning how to turn down my interior dialogue. That indeed is challenging, but I’m working on it!
Happy New Year to you and yours, and all my best wishes~ xoxo
This is wonderful. I love, love, love coming across sacred messages of beauty and wisdom in nature. The star flowers! The heart rock! The poem! Beautiful 🙂
Sara, thank you so much for accompanying me on my woodland ramble. Nature is so generous in the special signs and wonders she scatters about for us to discover, don’t you agree? Wishing you a new year filled with special surprises and delight ~ xoxo
Thank you for putting into words that which many of us cannot.
Thank you for being a kind and faithful friend, Lisa, as well as a gentle reader. Blessings and love to you and your dear ones~ xoxo
Thank you, dear Amy, for sharing this beautiful walking meditation with us. I’m physically sitting here at my computer in Oregon, but how I feel the great stillness and joy of all the discoveries of your walk. This always resonates in the here and now, miles or no miles between us, but perhaps one day we’ll get a chance to listen to the wisdom of nature together. ❤
I’d so love to listen to the wisdom of nature together with you, dear Lorraine. Perhaps someday, we’ll take a nature walk together. You are a true kindred. Blessings and love to you in beautiful Oregon! xoxo
Amy, I can’t think of a more beautiful way to open a new year. This was lovely and of course it made me instantly want to ask you to keep wandering/walking and share your beautiful photos and words. With your permission, I would love to share this post or another soon on my blog.
Betsy, I would be pleased and honored for you to share this or any of my future walking posts on your blog. I am stirred and encouraged by your desire to quit your room and wander – day by day and step by step– into the world around you with a heart wide open to all. This fits my idea of true living, and I applaud your efforts. I’ll be here to cheer you on, every step of the way.
Also, many congratulations on Casualties! So excited for you! xoxo